May 12, 2003 - Star Sun Network Online: RPCV Andrew Haralam on hunger strike in Philippines to protest introduction and cultivation of the Bacillus thurigiensis (Bt) corn

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2003: May 2003 Peace Corps Headlines: May 12, 2003 - Star Sun Network Online: RPCV Andrew Haralam on hunger strike in Philippines to protest introduction and cultivation of the Bacillus thurigiensis (Bt) corn

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, May 12, 2003 - 10:25 am: Edit Post

RPCV Andrew Haralam on hunger strike in Philippines to protest introduction and cultivation of the Bacillus thurigiensis (Bt) corn





Read and comment on this story from the Star Sun Network Online on RPCV Andrew Haralam who is on a hunger strike in the Philippines to protest introduction and cultivation of the Bacillus thurigiensis (Bt) corn. Haralam told reporters the possible detrimental effects of the genetically modified product on the environment include agriculture homogenization and immunization of target pests. "As an environmental activist, I am protesting the introduction of Bt corn in an effort to protect the ecosystem in general and preserve the indigenous strains of corn in particular," said Haralam. Read the story at:

Hunger strike v. Bt corn enters 4th day*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.



Hunger strike v. Bt corn enters 4th day

By Harley Palangchao

BAGUIO -- A former American Peace Corps volunteer enters his fourth day of hunger strike Monday at the Malcolm Square to protest the introduction and cultivation of the Bacillus thurigiensis (Bt) corn in the country, claiming it is even more frightening than the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars).

Andrew Haralam, 29, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, told reporters the possible detrimental effects of the genetically modified product on the environment include agriculture homogenization and immunization of target pests.

Since he started his hunger strike, Haralam's only nourishment consists of mango juice and water.

He also warned that Bt corn could cause stomach and colon cancer, birth defects and neurodevelopment disorders. He claimed that these possible side effects of the product are irreversible.

"As an environmental activist, I am protesting the introduction of Bt corn in an effort to protect the ecosystem in general and preserve the indigenous strains of corn in particular," said Haralam.

He also called on Malacañang not to allow the entry of Bt corn. "Please do not contaminate this beautiful land with poison, either with the chemical or the genetically engineered variety."

Haralam also expressed optimism a ban on Bt corn in the country would set a precedent for other Asian countries to oppose the entry of the Bt corn and other GMO products.

The former Peace Corps member, who also maintains a one-hectare farm in Buguias, Benguet, said Americans and Mexicans are now suffering from the ill effects of Bt corn since the GMO-type product was introduced.

Bt corn-MON810 is a GMO-type variety introduced and patented by the US multi-national company Monsato. The product produces proteins, allegedly reported to be a built-in poison, which kills the Asiatic corn borer.

The Department of Agriculture approved the commercial release for propagation of Bt corn in the country early December last year.

Reports said the corn variety was already planted in Ilocos, Pangasinan, Isabela and Camarines Sur. Expected harvest date is between April to May this year.

Meanwhile, Malacañang continues to remain silent on the snowballing opposition against the nationwide commercialization of Bt corn, even as the hunger strike led by environmental activists is now gaining support from various sectors in the country and abroad. With Rachelle Landico and Catherine Solomon/Sun.Star Baguio

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